The holy grail of campaign opposition research is the perfect metaphor: an activity or hobby or object that captures a politician’s character. For George W. Bush, the metaphor has been his ranch, allowing Hillary Clinton to describe his foreign policy as “cowboy diplomacy.” For John Kerry, the metaphor was his penchant for windsurfing, which critics highlighted to suggest that his positions drifted with the breeze.
With Mitt Romney, however, no perfect metaphor has emerged. He has no special passion for flipping pancakes, nor does he collect weather vanes, nor has he ever expressed an interest in robotics. What, then, can his opponents use to symbolize his foibles?
Meh, how about windsurfing again. Who cares that he doesn’t do it? (Or at least there aren’t any incriminating photographs .) Thanks to the wonders of Photoshop, John McCain’s new ad makes it look like Romney does, goofily pasting his face onto a windsurfer’s body. “Where does Mitt Romney stand?” a voiceover asks. “Whichever way the wind blows.”
Forget Swift Boating . John Kerry should reach across the aisle and speak out against windsurfing-ing.